in News Departments > New & Noteworthy
print the content item

Massive shifts in the fuels used to generate electricity are requiring major investments for electric transmission grid improvements, a recent study by PJM Interconnection reveals. In 2012, PJM, which plans improvements to the regional power grid, authorized more than 750 electric transmission improvement projects with a total cost of more than $5 billion.

PJM's recently published report on electric transmission planning details how electric grid upgrades and construction maintain reliable electric supplies while meeting the challenges of power plant retirements, the rapid switch to natural gas, the growth of wind power and states' renewable energy requirements.

Between Nov. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2012, PJM received 104 retirement requests for 13,868 MW of generation. Most of the retirements were related to more stringent environmental regulations combined with low natural gas prices. The trend continues in 2013, with formal notice in January of the retirement of an additional 1,697 MW of generation.

"We've never had to cope with generation retirements or fuel shifts on this scale," says Steve Herling, PJM vice president of transmission planning. "The fact that we're able to respond to these changes so efficiently shows the strength of the planning process and the skills of planners both in PJM and the 14 transmission owners within the PJM region."

PJM's analysis identified the need for more than 130 grid updates to avoid reliability problems resulting from the power plant retirements. The $2.4 billion in solutions include equipment upgrades, new substations and substation additions, rebuilding existing lines and construction of new transmission lines.

For example, about $174 million worth of major projects are required in the Mid-Atlantic region to solve reliability problems caused by the retirement of generating units in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Most generator retirements were in the western region of PJM, including western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, western Maryland and Indiana. In particular, retirement of generators along Lake Erie in Ohio will require significant transmission upgrades in and around Cleveland. About $341 million in major projects were authorized to resolve generator-retirement problems in the PJM western region. In total, 137 transmission upgrades were approved.

In Virginia, PJM says it authorized $293 million in major transmission projects to solve reliability problems caused by retiring generators.

PJM continues to study the effects of existing wind power on the grid and to plan transmission changes to handle it. The PJM report identified nine grid-stability problems at eight locations in Ohio, Illinois and Virginia resulting from conditions related to wind power on the grid.

PJM planned and authorized $97 million in transmission projects to ensure that energy from generators, such as wind power, that typically run during overnight "light-use" hours can be delivered without causing stability problems.

Wind power on the grid is expected to grow because many states require a certain amount of electricity sold in the state to come from renewable sources. PJM says it continues to evaluate the new transmission lines and improvements that will be necessary to add the wind power needed to meet state renewable energy requirements.



Hybrid Energy Innovations

Hybrid Energy Innovations 2015
Latest Top Stories

Two Years After Superstorm Sandy, Utilities Highlight Grid Efforts

As the U.S. reflects on the monster hurricane that struck in October 2012, utilities note what they have done to help protect against future severe weather.


USDA Invests $1.4 Billion To Boost Rural Grids Around The Country

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced more loan guarantees for rural power companies and renewable energy firms in 21 states.


SPP Raises Concerns About EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan

Stakeholders around the U.S. are mulling over the Environmental Protection Agency's blueprint to cut emissions from existing power plants. The Southwest Power Pool has released its assessment of the plan.


Comverge, Constellation To Merge Demand Response Businesses

The two companies have announced a deal to combine their DR operations serving commercial and industrial customers and establish a new, standalone entity.


Grid-Scale Energy Storage Continues Making Inroads

A new report from Navigant Research highlights the biggest markets and most popular technologies for grid-scale energy storage.

S&C Electric_id176
edf_id180